Chef Sara Jenkins of New York City's Porchetta gave us the recipe for this spicy, comforting pasta dish, inspired by one made by Italian chef Salvatore Denaro.
- 2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4″ cubes
- 7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, undrained and crushed by hand
- 1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
- 4 oz. ricotta salata, grated
- 16 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
Heat oven to 500º. Put eggplant into a bowl and drizzle with 4 tbsp. oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to 2 baking sheets and bake, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and half the basil, season with salt, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to tomato sauce. Stir in reserved eggplant and toss to combine. Stir in remaining basil and season with salt. To serve, transfer pasta to a platter and garnish with ricotta salata.